In wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has decided to terminate its “Partner Categories” program, which allows social media marketers to access data from third-party companies like Oracle and Acxiom. These third-party companies provide information about specific demographic and behavioral data, which many marketers use to target Facebook users.
This move is also in reaction to the General Data Protection Regulation law (GDPR). GDPR is a new European Union law that affords more digital privacy protections to EU citizens, whether they live in the EU or not. Facebook has promised to comply with the regulation.
The elimination of the “Partner Categories” program seems like a huge setback for marketers.
Many industries have relied on third-party data to find potential customers. Now, marketers will have to target their audiences a little more broadly, instead of as specific.
But, nevertheless, that doesn’t spell the end of the world for marketers. Facebook itself has access to users’ data, which social media marketers, brands, and businesses can still utilize to laser-target potential audiences. Additionally, Facebook owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, which are other avenues for data gathering. In comparison to print, radio, and television, Facebook has the ability to target more specifically.
Marketers might even consider moving parts of their budget to Google, which is currently still open to third-party data.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal raised privacy concerns for the average user, and Facebook is addressing the problems in various ways. It’s understandable that Facebook wants its users to trust its service and feel safe.
Marketers will need to come up with their own solutions to adapt with the changing times, continuing to find and engage the right audiences.